Ballistic gel vs. real world
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Old 07-19-2014, 10:32 PM   #1
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Default Ballistic gel vs. real world

So how closely does ballistic gel penetration actually mirror real world penetration?

I'd hate to feel confident in a round/weapon combo that tests out to 14" + penetration, only to discover, too late, that agains a live target it goes 6" and stops before hitting anything vital.

Also, has anybody done any gel penetration tests behind barriers, like a 2x4 or something? I feel the ability to hit targets behind soft cover is something you would need to know about in a SD situation!

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Old 07-19-2014, 10:42 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDreadnought View Post
So how closely does ballistic gel penetration actually mirror real world penetration?

I'd hate to feel confident in a round/weapon combo that tests out to 14" + penetration, only to discover, too late, that agains a live target it goes 6" and stops before hitting anything vital.

Also, has anybody done any gel penetration tests behind barriers, like a 2x4 or something? I feel the ability to hit targets behind soft cover is something you would need to know about in a SD situation!
its not a 1-1 type thing and ballistic gel does not take clothing hard objects in pockets and bones into consideration.

ballistic gel is used as a guideline of performance which is why 14" is used as a minimum.

as a civilian if your shooting through cover its likely not self defense at that point...

ammo to avoid as they are extreme under performers

anything in .410, the caliber is totally inadequate for anything other than small birds and rabbits
anything in 22lr
all 380acp hollowpoints only fmj reliably penetrates 14"
in 20ga any shot smaller than 00buck
in 12ga any shot smaller than 00buck
in all large and small calibers, avoid all boutique frangible ammo like glaser safety slugs, sinterfire ammo and similar gimmicky rounds

fmj performs better on penetration than hollowpoints
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Old 07-19-2014, 10:44 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by TheDreadnought View Post
So how closely does ballistic gel penetration actually mirror real world penetration?

I'd hate to feel confident in a round/weapon combo that tests out to 14" + penetration, only to discover, too late, that agains a live target it goes 6" and stops before hitting anything vital.

Also, has anybody done any gel penetration tests behind barriers, like a 2x4 or something? I feel the ability to hit targets behind soft cover is something you would need to know about in a SD situation!
Depends on where your SD/HD situation takes place..."6" and stops" is a good thing if you live in an apartment, or neighborhood with houses close together.
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:40 PM   #4
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Default There is also

The immeasurable "pucker factor". This is the factor by which the bad guy's (or gals) privates pucker in fear that they are being shot at. Any penetration be it .22lr or .44mag is going to create damage in most cases while the pucker factor is going to make 90% want to get out of dodge. Quickly.

Very rarely will you have an assailant that is going to keep coming when you are firing at them..or if you are both firing at each other, yes, you want stopping power - Being shot by a FMJ or a JHP is really irrelevant. You are still shot.

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Old 07-20-2014, 12:05 AM   #5
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Most of the time when there is a police shootout it happens in a populated area. Still it is seldom anyone not involved with the shootout gets hit. Even FMJ bullets are severely deformed after passing through building materials. The hype of over penetration is just that, hype. After passing through a well made wooden door buckshot is deformed and not going very far. If my life is in danger I am going to have the most effective load for the gun in hand. The best way to prevent accidents is to limit the number of shots fired. If I was certain my shot would go into my neighbors bedroom I would use bear spray.

After watching youtube videos where people shoot pork shoulders or pigs heads I don't believe there is a hollow point made that will stay together all the time. Some of the ammo that is notorious for fragmenting tumbles as it fragments doing much more damage than a bullet that stays together. Perhaps the bullet fragments because it is tumbling. A bullet that penetrates 12 or 13 inches of gelatin then tumbles and fragments is not a bad choice. A pigs head is a good test. It is a good chance in a self defense situation your bullet will have to pass through the bad guys arm before it even gets to the bad guys body.

Some people say if you are shooting through a barrier it is no longer self defense. If someone is trying to kick in my door I am not waiting for them to breach the door before I start shooting. People use cars as a deadly weapon all the time. I am not going to keep my gun in my pocket because the attacker is in a car.

Watch both videos and you will see the hype over very little performance advantage or quite possibly no advantage.

Here is a gelatin test of a often maligned round, the Federal 9BPLE.


Here is the highly touted Hornady Critical Duty.
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Old 07-20-2014, 12:11 AM   #6
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ballistics gel is simply a testing meduim they can use to get consistent results with. it does not necessarily simulate human tissue, bone, muscle or organs.

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Old 07-20-2014, 12:31 AM   #7
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Ballistic gelatin follows a specific recipe and is used at a specific temperature to come CLOSE to duplicating the penetration effects on an animal. It is a uniform consistency.

However, with the POSSIBLE exception of jellyfish, animals (and people ARE animals) are not of a uniform consistency. They are not blocks of tofu, but contain bone, cartilage, ligaments, fluids, air and organs of different consistency. They are also not 360 degree symetrical.

IMHO, ballstic gel provides a handy means of comparing 2 different projectiles in a uniform manner. One that can be accurately reproduced by other people or at later times.

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Old 07-20-2014, 01:29 AM   #8
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IMO the gelatin doesn't tell the whole story.

I've tested the 45ACP round, and it's tested

poorly in many penetration tests. But it's performance against

the living is almost legendary. The 9mm has much better

"penetration", but is passed over for calibers with lesser

depth ratings, by many, for SD and CC.

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Old 07-20-2014, 03:54 AM   #9
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Hey now- ya never know- if you are ever attacked by a large slab of orange colored gelatin, that information could be critical!

Me- I'm looking for the test that says "We were unable to measure penetration- the gelatin was stuck to the ceiling in the test room."

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Old 07-20-2014, 05:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonM View Post
as a civilian if your shooting through cover its likely not self defense at that point...

s
This is completely false. If I am defending myself in my home and attempt to make use of whatever cover I can get... There's no reason to assume the criminal wont do the same if he sees me with a gun, or if I miss the first shots.

So I want to know, if I have to fire through a wall, door, couch, kitchen island, what have you... Are JHP going to be able to incapacitate the intruder? It's a fair question, and one I think anybody interested in HD should know the answer to when selecting a firearm.

Not everybody lives in crowded spaces where every closet and room is packed with crying children. Some of us are less concerned with "over penetration" hysteria... And more worried about maximum ability to incapacitate, even under adverse conditions.
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